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Biochemistry. 2000 Sep 19;39(37):11425-33.

Interaction of the lantibiotic nisin with mixed lipid bilayers: a 31P and 2H NMR study.

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Biomembrane Structure Unit, Biochemistry Department, Oxford University, Oxford OX1 3QU, England.


Nisin is a positively charged antibacterial peptide which binds to the negatively charged membranes of Gram-positive bacteria. The initial interaction of the peptide with model membranes of neutral (phosphatidylcholine) and negatively charged (phosphatidylcholine/phosphatidylglycerol) model lipid membranes was studied using nonperturbing solid state magic angle spinning (MAS) (31)P NMR and (2)H wide-line NMR. In the presence of nisin, the coexistence of two bilayer lipid environments was observed both in charged and in neutral membranes. One lipid environment was found to be associated with lipid directly interacting with nisin and one with noninteracting lipid. Solid state (31)P MAS NMR results show that the acidic membrane lipid component partitions preferentially into the nisin-associated environment. Deuterium NMR ((2)H NMR) of the selectively headgroup-labeled acidic lipid provides further evidence of a strong interaction between the charged lipid component and the peptide. The segregation of acidic lipid into the nisin-bound environment was quantified from (2)H NMR measurements of selectively headgroup-deuterated neutral lipid. It is suggested that the observed lipid partitioning in the presence of nisin is driven, at least initially, by electrostatic interactions. (2)H NMR measurements from chain-perdeuterated neutral lipids indicate that nisin perturbs the hydrophobic region of both charged and neutral bilayers.

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